Introduction to MIS Ethics
Moral principle comes to mind when I think of the word “ethics”. Ethics in MIS look to protect and safeguard individuals and society by using information systems responsibly. MIS professionals cause great social change and can threaten the distribution of money, power, rights and obligations. Information systems also create new kinds of crime and vulnerability. Recent headline business scandals along with the occurances of terrorist attacks have the American people frantically searching for security and ethical behavior in the world. Management Information Systems (MIS) professionals struggle with the same types of ethical issues faced by society and other business professionals.
Apply! MIS Ethics in Action
There was a Ransomware cybercrime attack last year on San Francico’s light rail system.There were no firewalls breached. A worker simply invited the hacker in by clicking on an infected email attachment. Ransomware is a malicious software that encrypts sensitive data until it can only be unlocked with a keycode. The hackers hit strategic MIS locations like hospital and transportation cyber sites because of the potential damage if they can disable the system. After taking down the computer system the hackers demanded a ransom from the San Francisco agency of 100 bit coins, worth about $73,000. The FBI recommends breaking the cybercriminal business model by not paying any ransom, something the light rail system was able to do because its system was backed up. “We never considered paying the ransom. We have an IT team on staff who can fully restore all systems,” said San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose. Most organizations, particularly underfunded government agencies and organizations delivering critical services, are not as well-prepared. The majority of companies do not have backups. This has caused serious problems to many.
Businesses such as Hollywood Presbyterian Medical
Center shelled out $3.4 million paid in bit coin last year after the “kidnapers” refused to give the hospital computer access. The facility was without contact to email, digital patient records and some internet-connected medical devices
following the cyberattack. The hackers took the HPMC computer network clear offline before demanding more than $5 million US in ransom. One week went by while the medical center was held hostage. Their answer was to negotiate and pay.
Hits Home with Me
I used Wi-Fi in public places many times up to a couple of years ago. Locations such as cafes and airports can always be unsecure, letting malicious hackers view everything you do while connected. I got a call from my credit card company saying someone else had tried to obtain a credit card using my name, address and social security number. I didn’t call the cops until I had a chance to peruse my credit card reports. I was hacked and I was shocked. I accessed the extent of the damage. The mimic had gotten deep into my system, managing to bypass my security questions. I felt strangely violated.
A manager at IPro in Aspen once told me, “Someone is always trying to gain access to your email, to your password. They are trying to gain access to all of your contacts, who you meet with, where and when. Be careful”.
His words have always been a reminder to safeguard my personal information. The situation of cyber theft continues to create a “gun shy” attitude with me. While the experience of being hacked has definitely opened my eyes, it’s also brought my walls up. I was so naive before this all began. I still am reluctant to place any substantial cash in various checking-debit accounts. Western Union screwed up a large money transfer a few months ago and I had to wait days for reimbursement to the account. I refuse to use that system again. I’m looking into encrypting messages and asking my ISP not to sell my information to mailing list providers and other marketers. I cringe when paying bills over the phone using my 3-digit security code. Of course, I’m very reluctant to give any personal information out. I had a song stolen when I was in my twenties and someone copyrighted the tune. It made a few bucks. I now copyright anything I compose.
There’s an old axiom, “It begins at the top.” If top management does not support ethical conduct, it becomes less likely that lower level employees will behave ethically. Top management should make it clear that ethical behavior will be rewarded and unethical behavior will be punished. Hospitals are renown for a strong code of ethics.
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center is committed to not making the same mistake again and is now working on getting a backup system. They’ve recently taken other protective measures. Another crucial step they have taken is having its MIS up to date with the latest security hardware. A very effective defensive measure the hospital now does is training their employees to be suspicious of email, and they have the authority to flag anything peculiar. Their spoof discernment is high. The hospital MIS professionals have hardened their business systems and shored up its worker tech knowledge.
Today the medical center is dedicated to protect its organization’s most valuable assets of business and patient critical data. HPMC is resolving the MIS challenge by connecting a backup system, educating employees and investing in the latest state-of-the-art security hardware. This is updated accordingly by MIS professionals. Their managers now realize that once updates are released, hackers know about vulnerabilities and attempt to breach out-of-dates devices. So they keep workers abreast of new changes and warnings.
More organizations should write and enforce codes of ethics. Such practices would at least spell it out for the establishments. In addition, industry codes of ethics could be helpful in reducing unethical practices.
Halloween is around the corner. I’m already hearing campfire spooky stories involving ghosts, goblins, and ghouls. But in our technologically cutting-edge world, few things are scarier than the prospect of our devices and systems being hacked by cybercriminals. Don’t give these ghouls any opportunity to scare you. MIS professionals advise installing operating system security updates as soon as they are available. It works for the San Francisco Transit and now its working for a hospital that was once held cyber hostage.
MIS can be a double-edged sword. Everybody (outside of Borneo) has reaped the rewards of computer technology. But it creates new and devious ways for invading our privacy and enables reckless use of that information. With great knowledge and power comes great responsibility. Firms should develop an information security policy that provides employees with a line of defense against technology breaches that are possible in working with and transmitting the organization assets. Workers need to be educated and equipped with an ethical protocol that dictates company MIS ethics and agree to honor these moral principles.
My Research Resource
Stresses the idea that for firms to operate ethically there must be a climate favorable to ethical behavior in the society. Essay offers good explanation of ethics, business ethics and explores the ethics issues in information systems.
Nice video link about the San Francisco Transit ransomware attack. The article shows the impact cybercriminals can have on municipal transportation systems. I never realized that hackers have specific agenda on who and where to attack. Free rides because of computer shutdown.
Cyberattacks on hospitals have become more common in recent years as hackers pursue personal information they can use for fraud schemes. Good contrast to the San Francisco ransomware attack. The shutdown shows the cause and effects on the cyber attack of the hospital.
Cool tutorials included in the article that explains such challenges that are posed by MIS professionals and what can be done to minimize or eliminate the risks. Piracy is one of the biggest problems with digital products and the article presents various cybercrime methods and madness.
Key technologies that raise ethical issues. Discusses all sorts of deviant methods of hacking and preventive measures. Some I never considered. Also good insight about the major ethical, social, and political issues raised by information systems including the five moral dimensions.